Cuisine of Northern Cyprus
The cuisine of North Cyprus is an impressive and attractive mixture for tourists of several styles and even eras of culinary art.
Basis - Turkish cuisine with traditional oriental methods of cooking meat, flour products, rice and a variety of sweets. However, the cuisine of Turkish Cypriots differs from Turkish with their unique shades.
First of all, the kitchen of Turkish Cypriots makes extensive use of olive oil, cheese from sheep's milk and fresh fish. There are also exotic dishes from local snails. Such dishes are prepared only in restaurants on the peninsula of Karpaz or in the fishing village of Bogaz.
Along with the Turkish culinary style, the unconditional influence on the cuisine of Northern Cyprus was the proximity of the so-called Levant - the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea and Greece. Especially this influence affected the composition of the local "meze", without which there is not a single lunch or dinner.
What is "meze"? These are traditional snacks before the main course, or, as the English say - "starters". Usually the meze in North Cyprus consists of 10-15 small portions of hot and cold appetizers, as well as traditional local sauces. First serve cold, and then hot snacks.
Usually white and red sauces are served (but not mayonnaise and ketchup, of course). Cyprus sauce is a complex mixture of 6-7 components, moderately sharp, moderately salty, which is easy to spread on bread and used as a separate snack. For a cold meze, marinated and salted olives, a variety of pickled greens and garlic, yoghurt with fresh cucumber, hot green pepper, dolma (minced meat boiled in grape leaves), fresh vegetable salad, fried cheese "hellym", homemade smoked mutton ham and other goodies.
Hot meze, as a rule, includes fried sheep giblets, fried octopus ("octopus") or squid ("kalamari"), small appetizing toasted lamb sausages - "sheftali"; stewed or stuffed eggplants, mashed vegetable or fish soups.
Particular mention should be cheese. In North Cyprus, three traditional types are produced - the amazingly delicious "hellym" mentioned above, the "nor" - cylindrical form, not very salty, fat and soft, and "Peinir" - the same shape, but firm and salty.
After the "meze" the main course is served. The most popular cooking in North Cyprus is barbecue meat - over an open fire, over charcoal, on a spit or on a grate - how to cook lamb in Turkey. The mutton of the ham is also baked in a traditional stone oven. This dish in the Greek style is called "kleftiko".
Very popular in North Cyprus is fresh fish. It is fried either entirely or by pieces on a spit. In addition, the fish is served as a roast fillet with sauce. Another traditional local dish is fish, stewed in Turkish, in white wine and olive oil, with vegetables and mushrooms - "gyuvech".
Of the local fish species, the most delicious large sea bass. Also, very popular is a small and medium-sized fish with red and white scales, which the locals call "barbula". Another very tasty local fish, (unfortunately, rare) is a deep-sea Mediterranean bream.
As for the cheap and delicious meat dishes of Turkish and Lebanese cuisine, which usually locals use as a lunch, they all have the common name "kebab". The kebab itself is cooked in a special oven, which is completely clogged with clay, when the dish is ready, the clay is simply broken. The meat is very tender!
However, in fact, kebabs are very different. The simplest and inexpensive are called "donner kebab". It can be served on a plate, and can put pieces of meat with salad and sauce inside a hot bread cake, and then you get a "donner package".
The second type of traditional hot "fast" dishes of Northern Cyprus is "shish-kebab". In fact, this is the most common shish kebab with a side dish of fried potatoes and salad. By the way, Cypriot potatoes are the best in the Middle East. By tradition, the shish kebab is fried exclusively from mutton.
Next comes the "kofte". These are very tasty cutlets from lamb. "Shish-kofte" - oblong lamb cutlets on a spit.
The most delicious of kebabs is "iskender kebab". On a large plate put a hot cake, on top - pieces of meat, filled with a complex sauce based on sour cream and spicy peppery seasoning, garnish served with potato chips and a salad of fresh vegetables.
A separate type of hot fast food - "moussaka" from Greek cuisine. These are pieces of meat and vegetables baked in a special bechamel sauce.
Along with the traditional restaurants of Cypriot cuisine, in North Cyprus there are many restaurants with different national and international cuisine. Some of them become a local landmark.
For example, all tourists who go on an excursion to Famagusta, necessarily visit the restaurant - confectionery "Petek" (Beehive). This restaurant is located next to the "Othello Tower". In "Petek" a huge selection of oriental sweets, refreshing drinks, ice cream for every taste and besides - good Turkish cuisine. In the center of the large hall of the restaurant is a swimming pool and a fountain with goldfish, and from the top terrace there is an excellent panorama of the old Famagusta.
A cozy atmosphere, a hospitable owner and his excellent culinary works, made this place one of the most popular among tourists.
In the area of Guzelyurt there are several small inexpensive restaurants by the sea, the owners of which have not yet forgotten how they cooked fish in the time of ancient Rome.
In North Cyprus there are almost all kinds of spirits from all over the world. But only tourists drink it. Turkish Cypriots themselves prefer all their strong drinks "Raki". This is a very strong aniseed grape vodka. Undiluted "Raki" drink is not accepted. Usually in a tall glass with ice pour "Raki" on three fingers, and then to the edge of a glass of cold water. The mixture of "Raki" with water acquires a milky color, which gave the inhabitants of the Levant and Cyprus the name "Lion Milk".
According to the customs of Cypriot hospitality, wherever you come to visit, you are offered a cup of Turkish coffee.
Turkish coffee is of three types - without sugar, moderately sweet and sweet, a glass of cold water is always served to it. The contrast of hot aromatic coffee and cold water creates an unusual taste sensation. In some restaurants, Turkish coffee is served at the end of lunch, free of charge - "from the owner."
One of the most common cold drinks in North Cyprus is fresh orange juice, which will be prepared right before your eyes from fresh fruits.
Drinking water in plastic bottles is of very good quality, served in restaurants for lunch free of charge.
Meze - Traditional snacks before the main course.
Hellim is an early-ripe semi-solid brine cheese made from a mixture of sheep's and cow's milk, mostly sheep, with the addition of mint, which gives the cheese a special flavor and taste.
Yoghurt is a fermented milk product made from sheep or cow's milk, it tastes like curdled milk, and the consistency is like thick sour cream.
Jadzhik - a cold cucumber with yoghurt.
Haidari - sauce of yogurt and cheese.
Hummus - chickpea paste.
Turshu - pickles are made from all kinds of vegetables, even from anchovies and quail eggs.
Chakystase - chopped olives with garlic and cumin.
Siyah zeytin - pickled black olives.
Zeytin ezmesi - olive paste.
Patlyjan Ezmesi - eggplant paste.
Jeviz ve tahin ezmesi - zucchini pasta with sesame and walnut.
Kleftiko - lamb with potatoes baked in the oven.
Hunkar kebabs - Sultan’s kebab.
Bumbar - lamb sausages.
Kibris rostosu - roast beef in Cypriot.
Patates koftesi - potato cutlet.
Kadin budu koftesi - cutlets "female hips".
Sheftali kebab - kebab cooked in sheep fat film.
Firin makarnasi - pasta casserole.
Etli bamiya - okra, ragout with meat.
Zeytinyali bamiya – okra in olive oil.
Molechia with meat - a medium-sized plant that grows in large numbers in Cyprus, is rich in various vitamins and microelements.
Zeytinyali semizotu - ragout from purslane on olive oil.
Zeytinyali barbunya pilaki - stew of beans in olive oil.
Zeitinyali yeshil fasulie - ragout of green beans in olive oil.
Zeytinyali pirasa - onions, leeks on olive oil.
Kabak mujeveri - zucchini cutlets.
Musaka - layers of potatoes alternating with layers of eggplant pulp and minced meat.
Etli kolokas– ragout with meat.
Patlyjan Dolmasi - stuffed eggplant.
Kabak Dolmasy - stuffed zucchini.
Sarma zeytinyaly - stuffed grape leaves in olive oil.
Enginar dolmasy - stuffed artichokes.
Chichek Dolmasy - stuffed with pumpkin or zucchini flowers.
Tarhana chorbasy - sour-milk soup from shredded wheat.
Merjimek chorbasy - red lentil soup.
Hunkar chorbasy - soup of sultans.
Kelle pacha chorbasy - soup of lambs head and leg.
Balyk chorbasy - fish soup.
Hummus chorbasy - chickpea soup.
Yumurta chorbasy - egg soup.
Akdeniz salatasi - Mediterranean salad.
Semizotu salatasi – purslane salad.
Patlyjan salads - eggplant salad.
Kysyr salads - a salad of bulgur.
Enginar salads - salad with artichoke.
Karidesli salata – salad with shrimps.
Karnabahar salads - salad with cauliflower.
Pilav - pilaf from rice.
Arpa shehriya pilav - pilaf from small pasta.
Bulgur pilav - pilaf from crushed wheat.
Myjendra pilav - pilaf of green lentils with rice.